Most scholarly journals have some of the following characteristics:
- Article citations for the journal can be found in a subject-oriented index, e.g., ERIC, PsycInfo, Humanities Full Text, MLA Bibliography, Social Sciences Full Text, etc.
- The journal is published or sponsored by a professional scholarly society or association.
- There is a list of reviewers (editorial board) inside the front cover or on the first few pages of the journal. This type of journal is a “refereed,” “peer reviewed,” or “juried” journal.
Note: Although not all-inclusive, Magazines for Libraries and Ulrich’s International Periodicals Directory both indicate whether a periodical or serial is Refereed. We subscribe to both, so stop by the Reference Desk for assistance with them, or compare your article to the general--but, again, not all-inclusive--characteristics of a scholarly journal article listed below:
The general characteristics of a scholarly journal article are as follows:
- The article includes references in a bibliography or in footnotes.
- The article often contains at least two of the following sections:
1. Introduction or Literature Review
2. Theory or Background
- The title of the article reflects its content.
- An abstract is usually found at the beginning of the article.
- The author’scredentials are often listed.
- The article is based on originalresearch or authoritiesinthefield, as opposed to personal opinion.
- The article may contain supporting diagrams or illustrations.
Note: Do not totally disregard articles from non-scholarly magazines like Time or PsychologyToday. Some of these articles may be quite good, even though they have almost none of the above-noted “scholarly” characteristics. Check with your professor for the final word on this.